The Southern television space has caught the attention of the big national players just as it tops among the regional markets. Tamil channels form a big share of this market, with the Tamil GEC space seeing some action with the launch of Zee Tamil recently. However, going by the trend of the newly launched as well as forthcoming channels, news and other niche genres are set to rule in the South.
With the launch of Kalaignar’s 24-hour news channel ‘Seithigal’, Tamil news channels had its fourth addition along with Sun News, Jaya Plus, Raj News 24x7. Zee is planning to launch Zee News Tamil soon. What makes news such a sought after genre in regional television space? Is the market getting cluttered and fragmented? What is the scope for newer entrants?
Scope exist but so does duplicated content
G Ramprasad, CEO, Zee South, observed, “With the continuously increasing number of television channels in the market and the platforms of content delivery, the demand for content of all types is bound to increase. This includes the news genre also. Typically, in such a situation, initially there is a proliferation of the number of offerings (news channels, in this case), but only those with differentiated and well positioned content will survive. As such, there is certainly scope of well planned and clearly targeted newer entrants.”
Suresh Iyer, CEO, Raj TV, remarked, “Of course, the news market is getting cluttered. To what extent the national news coverage will be relevant to the local market is a big question. With the growing number of channels, content is bound to get duplicated.”
In recent times, not just the news genre, comedy, too, has evolved as a separate genre among Tamil TV channels. At the same time, there also has been a proliferation of specialised niche channels with highly targeted and segmented audience.
Channel for investors high on the cards
According to Iyer, “GECs are becoming so vast that the future will see a lot of specialisation happening. Take, for instance, the entire segment of youth, which offers a lot of scope for various niche channels to come up. A channel for investors will be on high demand. Niche channels will circumvent the entire distribution problem because the more the channels are relevant to a particular section of the people, the more would be the guarantee of loyalty of that section to those particular channels. A channel cannot succeed if people don’t ask for it. From the viewer’s point of view, slowly sections will ask for sharper differentiation. Even from advertiser’s point of view, reach will get more targeted and is going to get much more cost effective with more of specialised vehicles.”
Considering the maturity of the Tamil TV space, Ramprasad pointed out a few genres that would come up in the near future. He said, “At the moment, the Tamil TV space is quite crowded and has a lot of me-too channels. The next level of development of the space would be greater focus and niche offerings. This could include not just comedy and music, but also educational, devotional, fitness and health, investment planning, real estate, and so on. This will help both the audience, which is looking for more specialised content, and advertisers, who can target their audience in a more cost effective manner.”